John Goodall

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John Goodall (19 June 1863 – 20 May 1942) was a footballer who rose to fame as a centre forward for England and for Preston North End at the time of the development of the Football League, and also became Watford's first manager in 1903. He also played cricket in the County Championship for Derbyshire in 1895 and 1896, being one of 19 players to achieve the Derbyshire Double of playing cricket for Derbyshire and football for Derby County.

John Goodall
Preston north end art (Goodall).jpg
1889 sketch of Goodall
Personal information
Date of birth (1863-06-19)19 June 1863
Place of birth Westminster, England
Date of death 20 May 1942(1942-05-20) (aged 78)
Place of death Watford, England
Position(s) Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Kilmarnock Burns
Kilmarnock Athletic
Great Lever
1885–1889 Preston North End 66 (56)
1889–1900 Derby County 211 (76)
1900 New Brighton Tower 6 (2)
1900–1903 Glossop North End 35 (8)
1903–1907 Watford 62 (14)
1910–1912 RC Roubaix
1912–1913 Mardy
National team
1888–1898 England 14 (12)
Teams managed
1903–1910 Watford
1910–1912 RC Roubaix
1912–1913 Mardy
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Early careerEdit

John Goodall, the son of a corporal in the Scottish Fusiliers, he had a somewhat cosmopolitan background. He was born in London but raised in Ayrshire and his parents' travels were diverse enough to leave him with a younger brother, Archie, who was Irish-born.[1] Having played for Kilmarnock Athletic, he later joined the exodus south and ended up at Great Lever.[2]

Preston North End 1886–1888Edit

Goodall signed for Preston North End at the beginning of the 1885–86 season. Shortly after his arrival at Deepdale, the home of Preston North End, he scored nine goals on North End's 16–2 win in a friendly match against Dundee Strathmore. Yet when North End beat Hyde United 26–0 on 15 October 1887, John Goodall only claimed the last goal. That season, 1887–88 Preston North end reached the 1888 FA Cup Final. It was played at Kennington Oval on 24 March 1888 against West Bromwich Albion, John Goodall played centre–forward. North End lost 2–1. John Goodall was selected to play for England in season 1887–88. He made his debut on 4 February 1888 in a match against Wales. The match was played at the Alexander Recreation Ground, Crewe and England won 5–1. John Goodall scored on his debut. His second international appearance was on 17 March 1889 at Hampden Park against Scotland. England won 5–0 and John Goodall scored the fourth goal.[3][4]

Preston North End 1888–1889Edit

John Goodall made his League debut on 8 September 1888 as a forward for Preston North End against Burnley at Preston North End' Deepdale ground in Preston. Preston won 5–2. John Goodall played in 21 of Preston' 22 League Championship matches. As a forward he played in a front–line that scored three or more goals on 13 separate occasions. John Goodall scored 20 League goals in 1888–1889. His debut League goal was scored on 15 September 1888 at Dudley Road, the then home of Wolverhampton Wanderers. Preston North End won 4–0. His 20 goals included two hat–tricks. The first was scored on 27 October 1888 at Deepdale, the visitors were Wolverhampton Wanderers. Goodall scored Preston' first, third and fourth in a 5–2 win. The second was scored on 3 November 1888 at Trent Bridge, the then home of Notts County. Goodall scored Preston' first, third and seventh goals in a 7–0 win over the home team. John Goodall scored two–goals–in–a–match on four occasions. Two against Derby County on 8 December 1888 in a 5–0 win at Deepdale; two against Everton on 22 December 1888 in a 3–0 win at Deepdale; two against West Bromwich Albion on 26 December 1888 in a 5–0 win at Stoney Lane, the then home of West Bromwich Albion and two against Notts County on 5 January 1889 in a 4–1 win at Deepdale. 20 goals in a League Season was the Football League record as that was the first season of League football. John Goodall played in all five FA Cup ties in season 1888–89. He played in the Final at Kennington Oval on 30 March 1889 at centre–forward. His team defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 3–0. He scored two goals in the earlier rounds making it 22 for the season.[5][6]

Along with winning League Championship and FA Cup Winners medals John Goodall won two more England caps and played in the 1888-89 British Home Championship. On 23 February 1889 at Victoria Ground Goodall scored in a 4–1 victory over Wales. Then on 13 April 1889 he played for England against Scotland but ended on the losing side. Scotland winning 3–2 at Kennington Oval.[7]

At Preston, Goodall had assumed the responsibility of organising the attack and carried the side's development a stage further by instigating many ploys that would never have otherwise become part of the team's repertoire. By the time of his departure to Derby County, he had achieved all he could hope to do at Deepdale. Goodall made 56 first–team appearance for Preston North End, 21 in the League and he scored 56 goals for the club, 20 in the League.[8][9]

Derby CountyEdit

Goodall left Preston North End for Derby County in 1889 at the height of his fame. His brother Archie a centre-half, played alongside John at Derby County.

He was retained by the Derby club until 1898. It was at Derby County where the older Goodall became a mentor to Stephen Bloomer, the best goal scorer of that generation, from the start of the 1892–93 season. Bloomer allegedly credited Goodall with his early development and partly as a result of this combination, the 'Rams' came strongly to the fore but were never quite able to convert their talents into silverware finishing third in the League twice, runners-up once (in 1895), FA Cup semi-finalists twice, and runners-up once (in 1898).

Goodall did not feature in the 1899 FA Cup Final as he was by now fading as a first-time fixture at the Baseball Ground but in 1900–01 he was taken on by New Brighton Tower, a club based in the Wirral, that pursued an expensive policy of buying ex-internationals in order to strengthen their League status. However, at the end of Goodall's first season the owners, citing financial difficulties, withdrew the club from the League despite finishing 4th in the Second Division of The Football League. Goodall, finally, played out his League career in relative obscurity with Glossop North End, in Derbyshire, in the Second Division.

In all, Goodall was capped six times versus Wales, seven times against Scotland, and once against Ireland, scoring 12 goals. He saw his last international in 1898 having appeared at inside right, centre forward, and inside left. One opponent said of him: "his feet seemed to move in quicksilver".


Goodall played first-class twice for Derbyshire. In the 1895 season he made his debut in a match against Yorkshire in June when he scored a healthy 32 in his second innings to help Derbyshire to victory. In the 1896 season he kept wicket against Warwickshire in July, taking one catch in another victory for Derbyshire.[10]


He married Sarah Rawcliffe from Lancashire in Glossop and, when his playing career came to an end, moved with his wife to Hertfordshire in 1903 where he took up a position as the first player/manager of Watford of the Southern League for 3/10s/0d a week and stayed in position until May 1910, when he became the groundsman.

An Observer reporter visited Goodall in May 1903, as he prepared for the new season and, in part, wrote this:[citation needed]

Asked as to the prospects in Watford, the new manager saw no reason why Watford, with its good central position and great railway facilities, should not be able to turn out a team to occupy a respectable position on the Southern League ladder.

The moment we got away from the subject of Watford you could hear the rumbling of curling stones, the swish of cricket balls, the rippling of waters "willow-wooed," and the swipes of drivers in the royal and ancient game of "gowf". Of Goodall's fishing one need say no more than that he is an angler.

But John's achievements in the roaring game cannot be passed over. While at Preston he was the champion curler, and once when playing against the best of Scotia's curlers in the championship of Great Britain at Southport, he ran out second.

With reference to the game of golf, Goodall knows all about long drives and good approaches, bunkers, and other hazards; the secret of keeping your eye on the ball is his, and the language thereof! Pigeon shooting also claimed his attention.

The gentler game of bowling has attracted him of a summer's evening and he can put a bowl to lie dead on the jack when required. In the cricket field he has kept wicket for Derby County against Yorkshire and Warwickshire.

In the new manager, Watford have a man who can be relied upon at all times to give a good account of himself in any position, particularly in the van.

His impact of his reign at Watford was immediate. The club broke various records in winning Division Two of the Southern League in 1903–04. They went through the campaign undefeated, recording the highest FA Cup victory in the club's history (6–0 versus Redhill 31 October 1903) and having both the highest season (Bertie Banks) (21 goals) and single game goal scorer in the club's history (Harry Barton (6 goals v. Wycombe Wanderers 26 September 1903).

Goodall played his last football game for Watford on 14 September 1907 at the age of 44 years, 87 days in a Southern League game against Bradford Park Avenue, becoming the oldest person ever to have played for Watford.[11] He came back to football in 1910 with RC Roubaix and retired in 1913 as player-manager of Mardy.[12] Thereafter, lived out a rather impecunious existence, tending to an allotment to provide vegetables for his family and forlornly walking one of his pet foxes around the town.

Goodall was the most notable of the few 'southerners' able to break into the new 'professional' game and was, in some ways, responsible for aiding the development of the game in the South of England. He was a curling player of some repute, and while at Watford he played five cricket matches for Hertfordshire County Cricket Club in 1905 and 1906.[13] In addition, he always maintained a rather strange penchant for domesticated foxes, walking them on the pitch during the interval at Deepdale.


Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Watford May 1903 May 1910 253 91 64 98 035.97
Total 144 61 33 50 042.36

Personal lifeEdit

Goodall married Sarah Rawcliffe on 4 January 1887 at All Saints Church, Preston. At this stage, he was still working as an iron turner.[14]

He died in Watford in May 1942 and was buried at Vicarage Road Cemetery in an unmarked grave until, in May 2018, Watford FC provided a headstone adorned with the club crest and text recording Goodall's many sporting achievements.[15]

Goalscoring record (incomplete) in Football League.[16]Edit

Season Rank Club Division Matches played Goals scored Goals scored per match His club's position in the league
1888–89 1st Preston North End First Division 21 20 0.95 Champions
1889–90 ? Derby County First Division 15 ? ? 7th
1890–91 8th Derby County First Division 20 13 0.65 11th
1891–92 11th Derby County First Division 22 15 0.68 10th
1892–93 12th Derby County First Division 26 12 0.46 13th
1893–94 14th Derby County First Division 29 12 ? 3rd
1894–95 ? Derby County First Division 19 ? ? 15th
1895–96 ? Derby County First Division 25 ? ? 2nd
1896–97 ? Derby County First Division 23 ? ? 3rd
1897–98 23rd Derby County First Division 22 8 ? 10th
1898–99 ? Derby County First Division 14 ? ? 9th
1899–1900 ? Derby County First Division ? ? ? 6th
1900–01 ? New Brighton Tower First Division 6 2 0.33 4th (2nd Div.)
1901–02 ? Glossop North End First Division ? ? ? 8th (2nd Div.)
1902–03 ? Glossop North End First Division ? ? ? 11th (2nd Div.)

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ The Coodnaes, Scots Football Worldwide
  2. ^ Hayes, Dean (2006). The Who's Who of Preston North End. Breedon Books. pp. 96–97. ISBN 1-85983-516-3.
  3. ^ Hayes, Dean (2006). The Who's Who of Preston North End. Breedon Books. pp. 96–97. ISBN 1-85983-516-3.
  4. ^ "England Stats". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  5. ^ "English National Football Archive". Retrieved 18 March 2018. (registration & fee required)
  6. ^ Metcalf, Mark (2013). The Origins of the Football League The First Season 1888/89. Amberley. pp. 67–68/74–75. ISBN 978-1-4456-1881-4.
  7. ^ "England Stats". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  8. ^ Hayes, Dean (2006). The Who's Who of Preston North End. Breedon Books. p. 97. ISBN 1-85983-516-3.
  9. ^ "Spartacus Educational". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  10. ^ John Goodall at Cricket Archive Archived 5 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Watford F.C. club records". Watford F.C. 15 December 2008. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2009.
  12. ^ Bygone Derbyshire – Rare Tribute to Honest John
  13. ^ John Goodall at Cricket Archive Archived 5 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "England Players - John Goodall".
  15. ^ Hornet Heaven (no date), John Goodall's Gravestone
  16. ^ Fußball-Weltzeitschrift No. 10, Jan/Feb 1988.
  • The Golden Boys: A Study of Watford's Cult Heroes By Oliver Phillips, Watford FC Books.